A new meta-analysis of trials of vitamin D supplements failed to show beneficial effects for the prevention of hip fractures, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, or cancer in otherwise healthy adults. These finding may also cast doubt about the use of vitamin D suppliments to fight osteoporosis.
“The take-away message is that there is little justification currently for prescribing vitamin D to prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer, or fractures in otherwise-healthy people living in the community,” lead author Mark Bolland, PhD, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, told Medscape Medical News in an email.
“In our paper, the only benefit from vitamin D was in reducing hip-fracture risk in elderly women living in residential care”, the author added.
One exception is people who have documented low levels of vitamin D. People at risk of low vitamin D levels include elderly people living in nursing homes, people who actively avoid the sun, and people with deeply dark skin.
There has been a recent surge of criticism regarding the role of nutrional suppliments in health. Suppliments have Abigail economic impact. The sales of vitamin D suppliments in the United States increased 10-fold during the period from 2002 to 2011, from $42 million to $605 million.
I doubt many physicians will advise patients against taking Vitamin D, but now there is less reason to put it on high priority, for example in patients who are already on a lot of prescription medications.
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